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Codidact Meta is the meta-discussion site for the Codidact community network and the Codidact software. Whether you have bug reports or feature requests, support questions or rule discussions that touch the whole network – this is the site for you.

Need a mathematics Q&A site

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Update: launched.


It's been previously suggested that Codidact should have all math, coding, and software Q&A sites. There is already a catch-all Q&A site for coding/software, so perhaps it's time to get a math site too.

From the linked post:

Mathematicians tend to be on the cutting edge of new internet technologies. We were among the first adopters of Google+ (RIP) and currently have a massive community on SE. We are also among the central driving forces of the Open Access movement in academia, demonstrating a cultural affinity for the ideals behind FOSS and Creative Commons.

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3 comments

Hi @pnuts. I am new here and was unaware of the older post. Thanks for that link. You're right that some of my thoughts about the possibility were not very germaine. So let me edit the post so that this is solely focused on the job of specifically gauging interest in participating in a new math site. ziggurism‭ 9 months ago

@pnuts I don't think getting a minimal quorum of at least "showing interest" if not "committed" users would be that hard. I had thought to solicit for more contributors in places like the m.se and MO chatrooms, r/math, nForum and nCafe, AGITTOC and Category Theory Zulips, and maybe some oldschool email listservs. There are a lot of people fed up with SE. I am drafting a blast message already, but I would seek approval here of the solicitation and the wording of the message first. ziggurism‭ 9 months ago

4 answers

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Right now we don't have a good way of identifying people who would help build a new community, so let's do this: if you are interested in helping to build a math site, please leave a comment describing your level of interest (casual visitor, enthusiast, expert in this subtopic within the site's scope, something else?). I'll edit them into the post later.

Interest expressed so far:

  • I’d be happy to do what I can to launch a community. I’m a 13k rep on m.se an 1k on MO. I might categorize myself as somewhere between enthusiast and expert (my background is in algebraic topology and category theory but for the most part I’ve been more comfortable answering collegiate level questions — ziggurism

  • I would participate casually, both asking and answering (my degree is in math) but not often. — msh210

  • I'd be somewhere in between casual user and enthusiast, tending more towards the former. — user53100

  • I'd be interested in participating as well. — DonielF

  • I'd be interested in participating aswell, however my knowledge is primarily limited to probability and statistics. — Zerotime

  • As I commented on the earlier post, I'd be interested in participating. My main interest is enumerative combinatorics, although since one of my main replacements for SE as a source of intellectual stimulation was ProjectEuler I've also been learning a lot of number theory this year. — Peter Taylor

  • I would participate. I'd probably describe myself as an enthusiast. I'm an undergraduate senior Math and Physics major, so I would enjoy answering undergraduate questions, but I couldn't do much beyond that. If the community were extended to include applications of mathematics, I could also answer questions about the mathematics of physics. — JoshuaTS

  • I am an active SE user (20K on MathOverflow and moderator on CSTheory) but I think having alternatives is good. I would like to contribute here. Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen

  • I'd love joining if you create it. I'm a casual visitor as per your scale. — 8063♦

  • I was (am) a 20K+ user on Math.SE. My main focuses are logic, type theory, and category theory, but I could and would be open to contributing answers to a broad range of topics. — Derek Elkins

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25 comments

I’d be happy to do what I can to launch a community. I’m a 13k rep on m.se an 1k on MO. I might categorize myself as somewhere between enthusiast and expert (my background is in algebraic topology and category theory but for the most part I’ve been more comfortable answering collegiate level questions ziggurism‭ 9 months ago

The highest profile resignation I saw on M.SE was Henning Makholm, so I was thinking I might email him. Though I don't know him personally. ziggurism‭ 9 months ago

@ziggurism oh wow; I had not seen Henning's profile. It looks like he contributed a ton there and was looking for another place to share, so it seems worth contacting him and letting him know about Codidact. Monica Cellio‭ 9 months ago

OK I have sent Henning an email. ziggurism‭ 9 months ago

@MonicaCellio I think it is not a good idea to ask people how they can contribute to a community before launching its site. People's answers will depend on the features, norms, population, ... of the community. In my opinion, it is better first to launch a test site and then invite or ask people to contribute. By the way, are you able to create a math site the same as Math.SE? MathPhysics‭ 9 months ago

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Needed: a logo.

Thanks to everyone who's responded to the other answer about prospective participants. We plan to move forward with this community.

Right now the person who's been designing our logos is very busy with other things, so to try to remove barriers, I'm here to ask for your help. We're looking for ideas/mockups; someone else will produce the final version.

As you can see from other communities, our logos are horizontal (around 1:3) and include both the name and some graphical element that represents the community (transistor on EE, menorah on Judaism, frying pan on Cooking, etc). Logos need to not be too complex; they need to work on phones as well as big monitors. (The original draft for Languages and Linguistics included a lot more alphabets.)

Within those constraints, what says "mathematics" to you and to the people you hope to attract? And is there anything else we should know, like "avoid such-and-such because it's really cliche" or "these colors have particular associations" etc?


Suggestion #1

Edit by Sigma (sorry but I can't put a logo in the comments): Something like this? I'm worried it might be a little long relative to the height.

logo saying mathematics with a black square at the end

Here's a version from Peter Taylor in the comments:

adaptation of Sigma's logo


Suggestion #2

Someone proposed the following to me privately, so I'm passing it along (with permission). The explanation is that the formula is considered to be the most beautiful one in mathematics because it has the basic math elements:

logo incorporating formula into word "mathematics"

There is a suggestion in a comment to just use the "e ^ i pi" part of the formula as the logo, which still captures 3/5 of the formula's mathematical beauty, along with the word.1 There's another suggestion to just use pi.

Another variation (proposed by Sigma): e to the i pi formula above and blackboard bold Mathematics below


Suggestion #3

Suggested in a comment:

Perhaps clichéd, but for the logo I suggest $P\lor\neg P$, i.e. P∨¬P, a reference to both the law of the excluded middle as well as the P vs NP problem. — user53100

mathjax rendering

Suggestion #4

Half-joking-half-serious suggestion: Use the standard calculator logo - a 2x2 grid of + - x = — Moshi

$\left[\begin{smallmatrix}+&-\\times&=\end{smallmatrix}\right]\mathbb{M}\text{athematics}$ katex rendering


Additional suggestions in this answer. Don't worry about voting; with proposals being combined like this, voting doesn't mean much anyway. Constructive feedback matters. Somebody will take all this input and produce a logo.

  1. I'm learning all kinds of things from this thread. Yesterday I learned that the EE logo is a transistor, and today I learned about Euler's formula. Never stop learning!

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14 comments

Suggestion: the name "Mathematics" with M in blackboard bold, followed by the tombstone symbol. On a site with MathJax enabled (or mathurl.com), $\mathbb{M}\textrm{athematics}\blacksquare$ gives a mockup, although for a logo it might be nicer to change the aspect ratio of the tombstone and move it slightly below the baseline. Peter Taylor‭ 8 months ago

PS I kind-of think that there ought to be a joke about "didact -> coanswer", but that's a bit wordy for a background element of a logo, and the joke is probably funny at most once. Peter Taylor‭ 8 months ago

png mockup Peter Taylor‭ 8 months ago

This logo idea does not make any sense to me. At all. Sorry. Word + box? No. Mathematics has some many wonderful symbols. This seems to be the opposite. manassehkatz‭ 8 months ago

Proposal: use just $e^i\pi$. It's more square, which looks better as an icon/logo imo Moshi‭ 8 months ago

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Scope

Please edit this; I am not a mathematician and am deriving this from activity on this proposal.

Scope for this site would include:

  • all branches of theoretical and applied math: algebra, category theory, arithmetic and number theory, combinatorics, topology, measure theory and probability, calculus and analysis, statistics, complexity theory, automata theory, etc.
  • closely-adjacent sciences where the central question is about the math (e.g. "help me with this calculus to solve this physics problem" should be fine, but not "which equation should I use for this physics problem")
  • math tools (e.g. software packages) if the question is about the math (e.g. "what's the difference between these two R packages' implementations of Student's t test" and not "what's the difference between these two R packages' implementations of text justification")
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5 comments

The edit that I just suggested is partially substantive, especially in that it tightens the scope w.r.t. tools. msh210‭ 8 months ago

@msh210 thanks for the edit, especially the yes/no examples for tools. Good call. Monica Cellio‭ 8 months ago

I've suggested an edit adding some computer science topics; I believe CS should be a part of the scope. user53100‭ 8 months ago

I see you included statistics; this is often considered a separate discipline and it might be worth including in the title to be explicit that it's in topic. Sigma‭ 8 months ago

I'm wary about explicitly including "math tools" as in scope. I definitely do think that there can be good, mathematical questions about such things, but I suspect, if encouraged, most questions asked would essentially be "customer support" questions which I see as being considered off-topic. Even the suggested question seems like it would most likely be off-topic. For example, what if the only differences were software engineering differences? Askers should extract the mathematical content. Derek Elkins‭ 8 months ago

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Sample question set A:

  1. A box of mass 40.0 kg and measuring 1.0m on all edges is placed in a pool of water. At what depth will the box be perfectly suspended?
  2. A current with voltage 1.0V, with respect to the hydrogen standard electrode, is run through 1.0L of water exactly filling an isolated system of fixed volume at 30ºC and standard pressure. How much hydrogen and oxygen gas is produced, assuming all gases are trapped inside the water?
  3. A sample human population containing blood of only types A and o is found to have exactly 34% with type o and the rest type A. How many of those with type A can be expected to carry a recessive o allele?

Sample question set B:

  1. Why is it that if I put different objects into the same liquid, some float, some sink, and some are suspended?
  2. Some chemical reactions can be induced by an electric current. Is there a connection between the current applied and the amount of product from the reaction?
  3. I know that if someone has a dominant allele, that is what will be expressed, even if a recessive allele is present as well. Is there a way to predict what percentage of a population with the dominant trait carry the recessive allele?

Question set A, while not discussing mathematics directly, implicitly expects a mathematical answer; indeed, there are specific equations which can handle each of these questions (#1 being Archimedes' Principle, #2 being the Nernst equation, and #3 being the Hardy-Weinberg equation).

Question set B, in contrast, can be answered conceptually without getting into the mathematics. I can explain why these properties are true, or loosely describe what the relationship is, without directly stating the mathematical formulation of how these properties are true or related.

Are either question set in-scope (ignoring for the moment that set A is homework questions)?

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10 comments

A quick search for the names of the equations I mentioned should get you the relevant Wiki pages. It's just too annoying to work with them without MathJax. Please make sure to include that when the site is launched. DonielF‭ 8 months ago

Just because a quantifiable relationship between variables is recognised does not for me qualify a Q as "Maths". E.g. I know distance = speed x time but would expect "How long from JFK to LHR by Boeing 777" to be a travel Q, not a "Maths" one. Too wide a coverage may conflict with a lay person's interpretation, and so be confusing. In addition, your 'A' examples look uncomfortably like homework, with no sign in the Q of any effort. Hence my -1. pnuts‭ 8 months ago

Yes we'll definitely enable Mathjax on this site. I can't imagine it working without that. Monica Cellio‭ 8 months ago

@pnuts Fair point about the homework questions, and I completely agree with your definition of "maths" — just wanted to throw it out there for the community to vote on. DonielF‭ 8 months ago

@Monica Cellio personally, I prefer KaTeX, but you should use what works for you. Moshi‭ 8 months ago

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